With Christmas just around the corner Pet Insurance Australia takes a quick look at some safety tips for when it comes to our pets. From Christmas Trees, to guests, and everything between, PIA has all the advice to keep your pets out of harm’s way this festive season.
It’s that time of year! Many pet owners will be dusting off their Christmas trees come December 1st and getting ready for all the fun and cheer this time of year brings. However, it’s important to spend a little time considering your pets before the season officially kicks off.
It’s not uncommon to hear the sound of heavily decorated Christmas trees crashing to the ground in any pet lover’s home. To a pet, the novelty of this incredibly beautiful tree is just too much to resist. And it’s no surprise when you consider how much those dangly decorations actually look like pet toys. Understandably your pet cannot differentiate between a bauble or a ball. For cats, the tree is a wonderland of indoor climbing, that can cause a whole lot of mess and stress.
So, what can you do to help prevent Fido or Fluffy from causing damage to the tree, or worst still, themselves?
• Anchor your tree – if you can secure it to the roof with a hook and ensure the base is heavily anchored to prevent falling.
• Plastic decorations – try and use only plastic decorations instead of fragile glass. Also remember that the shinier the objects the more likely they’ll get the attention of your cat.
• Use beads on ropes instead of loose tinsel – particularly the loose string tinsel can cause obstructions in a cat or dog.
• Baby gates – for very young pups it’s best to completely section off the area so they cannot get under the tree.
• Get noisy – use bells and noisy ornaments so you get a good warning when your pet is exploring the tree.
• Spray deterrents – Buy a good quality spray deterrent and spray around the base of the tree to keep your pets away.
• Water gun – have a small water gun handy and give your pet a little squirt when they get too close to the tree. If you can do this without being seen it’s even better. You can also add a noise to the spray so that eventually you can just use a key word.
• Sticky – wrap pinecones in double sided sticky tape or foil and place under the tree. Add a little citronella to the foil to help keep the cats away. This will stop your cat from attempting to climb your tree.
• Protect cords – Always unplug your tree when you are not around and consider covering cords that could be chewed with tubing.
When entertaining guests it’s really important to consider your cat or dog. Contemplate providing a ‘safe room’ so that they can be put away when you cannot actively supervise. In this room add some classical music, a puzzle or treatball and their bedding, favourite toys and water.
The most common problems many pet owners encounter:
• Inappropriate feeding – many guests will think they are only ‘treating’ your pet however this can lead to upset tummies and sickness. It will also encourage your pet to beg and scavenge for food. Consider having a ‘pet treat jar’ on hand and ask your guests to treat from this jar only. Then you can monitor exactly how many titbits your pet is getting throughout the day.
• Rubbish – this is a big one, as many pets end up with all sorts of problems caused by left overs and rubbish. This can include poisoning and foreign-body ingestions. With the main culprits being corn cobs and skewers! Dispose of rubbish well and ensure everything fits in the bin. If it can’t, consider storing the rubbish in a lockable shed. Remember that Rover is an Olympic grade scavenger and will easily rip open a tied plastic bag looking for scrapes that could cause a stressful trip to the emergency vet.
• Escapes – pop a big sign up on each door reminding your guests that you have a dog and to shut the gate. This simple trick can ensure that everyone is looking out for your beloved dog during the day/evening.